Clothed In Righteousness
by Rachel Lee Carter
“I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety [a regard for spiritual things].” —1 Timothy 2:9a
As a teenager, the month of August was always bittersweet to me. The fun of summer came to an end, but a new chapter began with back-to-school shopping and seeing my friends in the classroom again. I’m past those teenage years, but I can’t help but feel the excitement and draw of the back-to-school sales.
You see, I’m a bona fide clothes fanatic. A clotheshorse. I shop in my pastime and my downtime. I shop pre-season sales and post-season sales. Thrift stores and boutiques. But my goal is to find the most fashionable duds that are undeniably modest.
As a professional model for twenty-plus years, I’ve modeled for some of the biggest names in the industry; among which include Cover Girl, Tommy Hilfiger, Reebok, and hundreds, possibly thousands more. But because I am a Christian, I set out to discover if fashion and faith could coexist in my heart without conflict. In a world where the most popular catchphrase in advertising is “sex sells,” I wanted to find out if there was a way to wear the latest fashions without dishonoring God or developing a bad reputation (Proverbs 22:1).
This journey couldn’t progress without interviewing those whom our clothing—or lack thereof—influences the most: guys. I sought out what they really think about modest girls and immodest ones. Interested in what they had to say?
Tyler: 16, North Carolina, a star athlete says:
“Certain lures are used to attract certain types of fish. In the same way, how you decide to dress and act will attract certain types of guys.”
Chase: 17, Alaska, an artist and blogger who is currently writing a book says:
“When a girl dresses immodestly, not only is she a stumbling block—an opportunity that could lead someone into sin—but also she is presenting herself as insecure.”
Hayden: 16, North Carolina, guitarist, band member and skateboarder says:
“Immodest apparel makes girls a target for the wrong kind of attention. In other words, she’ll attract guys, but for all the wrong reasons. What she wears sends a message— either positive or negative—to anyone who sees her.”
Tommy: 19, New York, surfer and snowboarder says:
“I don’t think girls can truly understand the way a guy’s mind works as it relates to this issue. I can tell you from experience that the way a girl dresses can definitely help or hinder a guy’s spiritual walk. So if she dresses immodestly, she is truly ‘dressed to kill.'”
So, moms and dads, as you’re shopping with your kids for the latest trends this fall, use some of these tips to help your kids model modesty. Their morality, spiritual health and reputations may thank you.
Shorts: Fingertip length shorts. Stand straight with your hands down by your side. Where your longest finger touches your leg is the shortest length your shorts should be and still be considered modest. This way, they won’t rise too high when you sit.
Hide Undergarments: Match low-cut tops with same color tanks underneath, instead of showing off your bra (which, remember, is under wear). Also make sure tank tops have wide enough straps to cover your bra straps; or if necessary, wear a strapless bra.
If your jeans show your underwear when you bend over, pair your jeans with a longer top to hide them.
Too Tight: This goes for pants and tops, and for guys and girls. If you can’t pinch the fabric, it’s too tight. A dead give-away for pants that are too tight is the stretch across the rear or the crotch. On the same note, “Skinny” jeans (thumbs up) shouldn’t be confused with skin-tight jeans (thumbs down).
With T-shirts, one shouldn’t be able to see the outline of a bra—in the front or the back.
Cover Cleavage: A girl’s cleavage is just as alluring as the rest of her breasts to a guy and should be hidden under her clothing. I once met a woman at a convention who told me, “Modesty is easy… no cracks in the front or the back!” Still makes me laugh. I have a simple trick that helps me every time I shop. Place four fingers at the base of your collarbone. This is how low your neckline can be without revealing your cleavage, even when you bend forward. I have thoroughly tested this and found any lower than this gives a tempting view of your chest when you lean over. Keep this in mind, especially if you’re wearing a V-neck top that dips lower at the middle of your chest. Pair low-cut tops with a matching or coordinating top underneath.
When you shop, you can use these tips to shop with standards rather than let today’s fashions dictate your convictions. You can wear clothes with confidence and integrity and exercise your spiritual health with a reputation that is pure. It’s a new school year, model your best side…your inside!
Rachel Lee Carter is a conference speaker, Bible teacher, author and international professional model. As a modesty conscious model of more than 20 years, Carter has worked for clients such as Cover Girl, Tommy Hilfiger, Reebok, Jones New York, Perry Ellis, Chico’s, DKNY, and many others.
She is a graduate of the Word of Life Bible Institute in Schroon Lake, NY, where she studied systematic theology and Bible survey. After hearing God’s on her life as a professional Christian model, she re-entered the fashion industry.
Rachel is the President of Modeling Christ; an organization addressing the issues and needs of both participants in the modeling industry, and the world it influences. She has become a popular women’s and youth conference speaker addressing issues like modesty, purity, evangelism and embracing one’s past. She is also a former contestant of the Miss Teen USA and Mrs. United States pageants.
Her book, Fashioned by Faith — an international model uncovers the truth about modesty and style (Thomas Nelson, May 2011) is available at bookstores everywhere.